I am an economics lecturer and a discipline lead in business at the South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT). I am also a facilitator for the Navitas Flexible Learning Design Program.
Teaching has drastically changed over the past five to ten years. Recent issues due the Covid-19 mean many more students are studying online and adapting to long distance learning using devices. Detailed ‘learn online’ resource websites, which give students access to downloadable content, weekly online quizzes, discussion forums, video recordings and interactive virtual classrooms all now make up the new way of learning.
These recent changes have had a huge impact on teaching economics. Previously, students only had access to online discussion forums, but we now have virtual classrooms where students come pre-prepared and the tutor uses an electronic whiteboard to discuss their answers at a set time. Each class is recorded for students to view in their own time, enabling continual reinforcement of learning.
In my experience, students find understanding models in economics quite challenging. A greater emphasis is now placed on the benefits of virtual classrooms as a means of showing students how to draw and explain their answers in a synchronous method. Both students and tutors need a range of technical skills to be able to fully participate in a virtual classroom.
Active questioning encourages students to practice their communication, interpersonal and thinking skills and active responding between student and tutor clarifies messages and provides direction for discussion. After 20 years of teaching at SAIBT, I have found that hybrid teaching using an interactive website along with Zoom dropin/catch up lessons is most effective in explaining economics, and keeping students interested in learning.
Nicki Kassoudakis Zaikis